Who doesn’t love bread! I have no idea of the stats but I’d imagine that the average British household goes through several hundred loaves a year. I for one have the ability to consume copious amounts which is one of the reasons why I make my own, by hand.
I’ve been bread making on and off for around 3 years and was initially inspired by Paul Hollywood’s Bread (BBC 2 TV show). It all started when my husband and I watched the show and him claiming that he’d make bread as a result of it. Being the competitive type and knowing that hubby would not be bread making, I took to the kitchen to do my thing. Fast forward to today and me making bread by hand practically each week.
Now don’t get me wrong, bread making can be a messy affair and it has not been easy but through trial and error I have found a method which I can rely on every time. It’s pretty straight forward and I roughly judge my measurements which you can of course adjust to suit your needs.
Makes 1 loaf
500g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp Easy bake yeast (this converts to one sachet if using the packet variety)
1 – 2 tbsp of oil (my preference is coconut oil)
300ml of warm water
Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins Ready In: 60 mins
- Into a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
- Add the oil and water, mix to form a soft dough.
- Now for the fun part, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for up to 10 mins until it is smooth and elastic. I know it’s ready when the dough springs back after poking a hole into it.
- Shape the dough on a baking tray or place into a loaf tin, cover and leave to prove (rise).
- It’s best to do this in a warm place. When the dough has doubled in size it’s ready!
- Pre heat the oven (230 deg C) and bake for 15 mins then reduce the temperature to 200 dec C and bake for a further 15-20 mins or until the bread is golden brown.
- Leave to cool.
Why home made?
Bread making seems time consuming when you consider that you can just nip to the shop for a loaf but that aside, there are many other reasons why I choose to do it.
Home made bread is healthier
The baker can control the ingredients . I very rarely buy mass produced bread and when I do I only ever get the wholemeal variety. Even still, I am about to taste a difference in the salt and sugar content – shop bought is far sweeter and saltier!
The need to knead
Kneading dough is truly therapeutic and produces fluffy loaves if done properly. It’s science, the longer one kneads for, the better the loaf – simple. I only recently started to take the time to knead my dough (I do this for around 10 mins) and I now notice a massive difference in the loaves made from kneaded dough. I start with a wet and sticky dough which I work on a lightly floured surface until I end up with a springy and light ball. When baked in my loaf tin I end up with a classic loaf, but sometimes I dump my dough onto a baking tray, proof (let it rise) and bake. This is how I do my ‘tear and share’ bread which is great for dips, hummus toasted or as a side with meals.
Freshly baked bread smells heavenly, especially first thing in the morning.
The choice of toppings (or fillings) is endless. I mainly make plain white or wholemeal loaves topped with a mix of sesame and poppy seeds however any topping will do. Other types of bread I’ve made include:
- Olive bread
- Tomato and oregano bread
- Cheesy bread
- Multigrain bread
- Chia seed bread
I’m interested to know how do you like yours…Comment below!